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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Students celebrate Lunar New Year

Considered the most important traditional holiday for the Chinese People, the New Year, or Spring Festival, occurs during the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar. The members of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, CSSA, shared the occasion’s tradition with other A&M students Saturday.
The Spring Festival is celebrated during a 15-day period and ends, traditionally, with the Lantern Festival. On campus, the CSSA recreated and represented many of the customs and celebrations that would normally take place during the weeks following the Jan. 23 start to the Lunar New Year.
According to tradition, Chinese families celebrate the new year together. Yining Xu, educational philosophy graduate student, equated it to a more familiar American holiday.
“It’s a lot like Christmas here, with you and your family coming together to eat and party and spend time together,” Xu said. “On the next day, aunts and uncles and other family join in. It’s a very happy way to start the new year.”
The Spring Festival allows Chinese Aggies — as well as those from other cultures that recognize the Lunar New Year — who did not return home to their families to celebrate with friends on campus. Performances by traditional dance and musical groups gave attendees a glimpse into the festival’s cultural roots, while other student groups, including a four-handed piano solo — during which two pianists share an instrument — and comedic ensembles, offered their skills to round out the entertainment for the evening.
Since this year marks the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac, a plethora of powerful colors and symbols set the mood for the festival in Rudder Auditorium. The Dragon is primarily known as a symbol of good fortune, luck and the embodiment of the Chinese people.
“We view the dragon with reverence and awe, as it symbolizes luck and power for the Chinese,” said Jianchao Ge, geophysics graduate student. “This is not the same dragon from medieval legends. Ours is unique and special to our people.”
The CSSA first began the local Spring Festival in 2005 as a way to offer homesick international students a way to take part in such an important event. Initial turnouts of 500 students burgeoned with each year, and approximately 2,000 students attended Saturday’s event.
As the celebration grew on campus and more students became enamored with the bright colors, lively music, and welcoming generosity, CSSA turned its influence toward educating fellow Aggies about the heritage and cultural importance of the event. Now, CSSA uses the Spring Festival as a way to thank the Texas A&M community for its acceptance and love toward the many students far from home.
“I saw a sign on campus and was simply curious about the event,” said John Lisle, junior history major. “When I got there, the smells and the sights nearly overwhelmed me. It was a fantastic experience, and the people were more than happy to have everyone there.”

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